Yours Sincerely

Dear Fiona

You are about to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Since discovering that lump 12 days ago this has been your worst fear. You hadn’t been checking for lumps and initially this is going to make you feel worse.

Weirdly, now that the worst has happened things are going to get better but it will take about a month for your appetite and semi-normal sleeping patterns to return.

You know very little about breast cancer because nobody in your family has had it. You thought that this made you low risk along with being relatively young (43) and leading a healthy lifestyle. You were wrong about that and will discover that all women have a risk (even men do). Becoming informed about what is happening to your body is going to become very important and you will learn a lot.

Nothing I can say now will prepare you for how difficult those early days are. The uncertainty of where the cancer may have spread to is a dark shadow that will not leave you but you will learn to cope with the uncertainty much better than you might expect.

You are also going to learn to handle a physical transformation. You are going to look different. Some of those changes are permanent and some are temporary. You are going to be ok with all of that.

You are going to need chemotherapy. You are going to feel incredibly anxious about that but you know that chemo is going to make a huge difference to your prognosis and therefore while it is unpleasant you are going to make friends with chemo. It is necessary.

You are going to discover that you are loved by many people and that is going to be a moving and humbling experience. You are going to connect with some amazing people who understand and will answer your questions with compassion. They have experienced what you are about to go through and although there is a difficult path ahead you won’t be alone on it.

Life is not fair but it’s still good. People will tell you to be strong and positive and you won’t always feel that but you will be ok. What is going to happen to you is going to change your life but some aspects of that are going to be positive. That’s hard to believe but it’s true.

Your greatest fear is not living to see your boys grow up but they are going to motivate you to do EVERYTHING you need to get through this.

Yours sincerely

Your future self.

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